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Parliament to be prorogued?

Nov 9 (DM) With major elections on the cards, speculation is rife that at the end of parliamentary sessions next week, President Mahinda Rajapaksa may prorogue parliament till January next year, political sources said yesterday. They said in case of prorogation the new sessions would be held after the presidential election expected to be declared on November 15. more..

The Exorcist

Nov 9 (DM) A couple of days ago the leader of a constituent party of the opposition alliance said the alliance would use any ‘devil’ to exorcise the ‘devil’ that rules. When queried further as to what the opposition coalition partners would do if the new devil turns towards them having thrown out the one already there, he said he hoped that would not happen. Politics in Sri Lanka is fast becoming the most unpredictable in the world. more..

Wanted ‘Army Manju’ netted

Nov 9 (DM) ‘Army Manju’ a notorious criminal wanted in connection with several killings and attempting a bank robbery was arrested in the Moratuwa area, police media spokesman Nimal Mediwake said. Police said that the suspect was also linked to several robberies in the Moratuwa area and had been previously jailed. The suspect was arrested by the Mount Lavinia Special Crime Investigations Division on a tip off received from the public. more..

Sri Lanka look to break India Test match jinx

Nov 9 (AFP) Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara is determined to set the record straight when his team contest a three-Test series against India starting next week. Sri Lanka, currently the number two Test side behind South Africa, have not won any of their 14 Test matches on six previous visits to India since 1982. "It's a record we hope to rectify," Sangakkara said more..

Govt. accused of denying security to Ranil

Nov 9 (Island) The UNP yesterday alleged that UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe now on a brief visit to New Delhi had been denied security by the government. Sources said that Wickremesinghe, had left for India on Sunday without being accompanied by a security officer. Sources said that the chief of Wickremesinghe’s security contingent had always accompanied him during overseas visits, though the government denied the same on this occasion. more..

Five leopards sighted in Hantana

Nov 9 (DN) Five leopards have been sighted in the Hantana area in Kandy by motor racing driver Thusith de Silva who had taken up residence in this area a few years back. De Silva’s house is constructed in the upper part of Hantana mountain close to the communication towers which had come up a few years back. This is also the highest point in the Kandy city. He said one night he heard a noise close to his house. more..

Govt.-IMF secret agreement prevents pay hikes – Ranil

Nov 9 (Island) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the Government had surreptitiously entered into an agreement with the IMF to curtail expenses and subsidiaries provided to people and therefore it was in no position to increase the salaries of the public servants. He said that according to that agreement the Government would not be able to give any increments to state employees though the President had made a promise that there would be a pay hike in January. more..

JVP using unemployed graduates to gain political mileage – NFF

Nov 9 (Island) National Freedom Front media spokesman Mohamed Mussammil said yesterday that the JVP was using unemployed graduates as part of its anti-government campaign. Last Wednesday unemployed graduates led by JVP activists had tried to enter the High Security Zone in Colombo Fort and provoked the police to resort to force and that was not the way to secure employment, Mussammil said. more..

Wholesale prices of several food commodities slashed

Nov 9 (CT) The wholesale prices of several essential food commodities will be reduced with effect from midnight today following a presidential directive. Accordingly, the new per-kilo wholesale prices will be sugar (Rs. 80), red dhal (Rs. 140), Bombay onions (Rs. 65), onions (Rs. 75), potatoes (Rs. 65), chillies (Rs. 95), garlic (Rs. 200), Basmati rice (Rs. 80) and milk powder (Rs. 425). more..

Govt committed to reducing budget deficit – IMF

Nov 9 (Island) Fundamental vulnerabilities remain Strict adherence to targets, steadfast implementation of reforms essential Reserve position comfortable, greater exchange rate flexibility needed. The IMF says the government is committed to reducing the budget deficit through expenditure restraint and reforms to tax administration, approving the second tranche of the US$ 2.6 billion standby facility to Sri Lanka more..

Sri Lanka needs stable foreign reserves: IMF

Nov 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka needs stable foreign reserves collected from current account transactions as 'borrowed reserves' flowing into Treasuries markets can flow out quickly, an IMF official said. "Money has rolled right in and reserves are at a comfortable position," IMF resident representative Koshi Mathai said. "There is a difference between borrowed reserves and reserves collected from the current account, like booming exports." more..

'Large part of budget to areas freed from LTTE'

Nov 9 (PTI) Noting that Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka witnessed no growth under LTTE control, its home minister Sarath Amunugama today said a large part of this year's budget will be allocated to these regions to drive their development. "The government had taken a policy decision to invest largely (in Northern and Eastern provinces). It is only fair that we do that, because there has been no growth there for three decades. more..

Justice Ministry to amend Thesawalame law

Nov 9 (SN) Ministry of Justice and Law Reform has taken measures to amend the Thesawalame law with necessary changes in line with the present requirements. The Ministry has appointed a committee headed by Justice Siri Pawan to look into the new provisions of the Thesawalame law. Thesawalame law is applied to inhabitants of Tamils in the Northern Province and has been subjected to many controversies. more..

Lanka Prez poll scene still murky

Nov 9 (EB) The UNP will take a decision on supporting the candidature of Gen Sarath Fonseka, currently Chief of Defence Staff, in the coming Sri Lankan presidential election, only after its leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, returns from New Delhi. A top UNP source told Express here on Sunday that the issue was clouded. “As on date, there is no certainty that Gen Fonseka will be a presidential candidate, let alone being a common Opposition candidate. more..

'Sri Lanka ready to take back migrants'

Nov 9 (PTI) Sri Lanka today offered to cooperate with Australia to investigate and punish the masterminds involved in human trafficking, after Canberra recently refused asylum to 40 Lankan migrants. "Sri Lanka will cooperate with Australia to investigate, track down and bring to justice the masterminds who are involved in illegal human smuggling," President Mahinda Rajapaksa told Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith here. more..

Sri Lanka to keep lid on defence spending in 2010

Nov 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka is planning to keep defence spending for 2010 at 2009 levels in rupee terms, and divert money spent on military activities to reconstruction, the government had told the IMF. In a revised program document given to the IMF following the approval of a 329.4 million US dollar tranche under a 2.6 billion dollar loan program, the government said the military was now doing nearly 75 percent of de-mining and road rebuilding. more..

Sri Lanka’s top general emerges as possible presidential candidate

Nov 9 (wsws) With the prospect of a presidential election early next year, Sri Lanka’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Sarath Fonseka, is emerging as the likely common candidate of the opposition parties to challenge President Mahinda Rajapakse. The backing for Fonseka underscores the degree to which the entire political establishment in Colombo depends on the military. more..

IMF warns Sri Lanka against borrowing

Nov 9 (AFP) The IMF on Monday warned Sri Lanka against issuing government bonds to build up foreign currency reserves after it released the second instalment of a 2.6-billion-dollar bailout. The IMF said Colombo's reserves were at a "comfortable position" having slumped to a historic low of one billion dollars earlier this year, but cautioned against more borrowing. "There is a difference between borrowed reserves and reserves collected from the current account, like booming exports," more..

Powerlooms to get boost from warehouse in Sri Lanka

Nov 10 (F2F) The Powerloom Development and Export Promotion Council (PDEPC) and the Ministry of Commerce in India will shortly set up a warehouse in Sri Lanka, which will stock a variety of fabrics and help the Sri Lankan apparel sector cut lead times and costs. This was informed by the former Chairman of PDEPC, Mr Mathivanan, who is in Sri Lanka to attend ‘TexIndia 2009”, a buyer-seller meet. more..

'India don't like being put under pressure'

Nov 10 (CI) Steve Waugh's Australians of 2000-01 deemed winning a Test series in India as the "final frontier" because it had been three decades since they had last won in that country. For the record, Waugh's men failed in their attempt when they lost the three-Test series 1-2. The Sri Lanka team Kumar Sangakkara led to India on the weekend also has similar ambitions. Twenty-seven years and 14 Tests have gone by and Sri Lanka are yet to win a Test in India, more..

Shares weaker on economic woes; rupee firmer

Nov 10 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's shares ended weaker on Monday amid economic woes and trade union protests ahead of national polls, while the rupee LKR= rose for the first time in nearly three-months, helped by a weak dollar. The All-Share Price Index of the Colombo Stock Exchange fell 1.51 percent or 44.04 points to 2867.58. The bourse has fallen 8.4 percent since the government said on Oct. 13 it will hold national polls by April. more..

Sri Lanka rupee may move out of 'exact peg'

Nov 10 (LBO) The Sri Lanka rupee strengthened Monday at a time when the US dollar is weakening against most other currencies, and an 'exact peg' with the greenback may no longer be maintained, the Central Bank said. The rupee broke its customary 114.80 peg to the US dollar Monday when state banks started buying the greenback at 114.65. "The rupee is responding to market pressures," more..

Successful Congress of United Socialist Party

Nov 10 (CW) The United Socialist Party (USP), held its 11th National Congress from 31 October to 1 November, at the Workers' Fellowship Auditorium in Ratmalana. It was made up of representatives from all the provinces, including the North and East, and Tamil workers from the central tea plantation area. A national perspectives document was presented by the central committee and a party building programme was discussed during the two days. more..

Sri Lanka remembers the fallen. The Church: Do not forget the refugees

Nov 10 (AN) "We pray for all our brothers and sisters in the north so that refugees can return to live in their lands of origin soon and according to justice." Fr. Noel Dias, a representative of the Archdiocese of Colombo celebrated the "Remembrance Sunday", thus uniting the memory of the war dead in Sri Lanka to the situation of the refugees from the conflict between the army and Tamil Tigers. more..

Landmines, unexploded ordnance a barrier to return

Nov 10 (IRIN) Landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) are a key obstacle to the return of thousands of conflict-displaced to their homes in northern Sri Lanka, say government and UN officials. The government estimates over 1.5 million landmines and UXO contaminate more than 400sqkm in the north. “Humanitarian demining and the removal of UXO are prerequisites for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, early recovery and development in conflict-affected areas,” more..

NZ urged to take rescued Sri Lankan refugees

Nov 10 (NZH) New Zealand is being urged to take some refugees from among 78 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers plucked from a stricken boat. Three weeks after being rescued, the asylum-seekers are refusing to go ashore and be processed in Indonesia. They have expressed concerns about being shut up in camps there for years. But Australia is reportedly negotiating with Indonesian authorities to have processing of asylum claims accelerated and resettlement fast-tracked. more..

Vanni doctors Bail conditions relaxed

Nov 10 (BBC) A court in Sri Lanka has relaxed conditions of bail for a group of doctors accused of providing a false reports on casualty figures during the last stages of the conflict. The government doctors who served in Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi during the last days of the conflict between the government forces and the LTTE were earlier ordered to report to the police on every last Sunday of the month. more..

Sri Lanka and Cuba celebrate 50th Anniversary of the establishment of Diplomatic Relations

Nov 10 (LG) Marcos Rodriguez Costa, Dy. Foreign Minister of Cuba reaffirmed the historically close friendly ties with Sri Lanka and observed a new momentum in the bilateral relations when he called on Rohitha Bogollagama, Minister of Foreign Affairs today (9). The Cuban Dy. Minister is on a three day visit to Sri Lanka to participate in the 50th Anniversary celebration of the establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Sri Lanka and Cuba. more..

'India' now is the time to invest in Sri Lanka - Cabraal

Nov 10 (FP) India being an immediate neighbor of Sri Lanka, hold best position to benefit from country’s post war economic renaissance. Governor of the Central Bank Ajith N. Cabraal made this remark at the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the India-ASEAN-Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce & Industry held at, Chennai, India on Thursday. Cabraal who was the guest of honor at the event said that Sri Lanka is truly moving into new era and have accomplished many impossible outcomes. more..

India, Bangladesh face off in 2011 World Cup opener

Nov 10 (CI) India and Bangladesh, two of the co-hosts, will contest the opening game of the 2011 World Cup in Mirpur on February 19. The fixtures were announced at an ICC event in Mumbai on Monday. The first game in Sri Lanka will feature the hosts taking on Canada in Hambantota, a new venue, on February 20. Pakistan, who lost their share of World Cup matches due to the security situation in the country, are playing all six of their group matches in Sri Lanka, which is hosting a total of 12 games. more..

Lankan workers stranded in Jeddah

Nov 10 (BBC) Sri Lankan migrant workers in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia say they have been living under a bridge seeking help from the authorities to come back home. One Sri Lankan worker who wished to be anonymous told BBC Sinhala service that nearly 3000 migrant workers, including Sri Lankans, have been living under the Sharafiya bridge in the Saudi capital for months. "We all have been house maids or in factory workers and were forced to leave the workplace due to more..

Minister Milinda Moragoda seeks Australia’s assistance to rehabilitate former LTTE cadres

Nov 10 (AT) Minister Milinda Moragoda met with Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs briefed and briefed on the challenges Sri Lanka faces in the post-conflict environment and discussed possible support from Australia for the Ministry’s programme with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to rehabilitate former LTTE cadres. more..

Dr.(Ms) Sudarshini Fernandopulle, the new SLFP Organiser for Katana

Nov 10 (AT) Dr.(Ms) Sudarshini Fernandopulle, widow of late UPFA Minister and SLFP stalwart,Jeyaraj Fernandopulle was yesterday appointed as the SLFP Chief Organiser for the Katana electorate. Late Jeyraj Fernandopulle has successfully contested repeatedly the Katana electorate and won repeatedly. President Mahinda Rajapaksa handed over the letter of appointment to Mrs Fernandopulle, more..

Lanka questions feasibility of power link

Nov 10 (LM) Even as India is hopeful of pushing ahead with the under-sea power transmission link with Sri Lanka, the island nation’s government has questioned the long-term feasibility of the project. The link is part of a bid to enhance economic and political ties between the neighbours. The transmission project is to be implemented by state-run Power Grid Corp. of India Ltd (PGCIL), and requires an investment of Rs2,300 crore to transmit around 1,000MW. more..

Sri Lanka’s giant magma plug fortress

Nov 10 (EG) If Sri Lanka wishes to improve its image – and its tourist trade – following its recent turbulent times, it could do worse than promote a national treasure such as the Sigirya. Towering above the surrounding plains of the Matale district in the heart of the country, this fortress and Buddhist monastery was carved from the hardened magma of what was once a volcano. Today, it stands as a reminder of the various ancient cultures that helped shape Sri Lanka down through the centuries. more..

Sri Lanka: Meeting the Western challenge

Nov 10 (AT) Although the war in Sri Lanka is now over, the battle for Sri Lanka’s future has only just begun. Notorious pro-LTTE lawyer Bruce Fein once told a conference by Max Foundation in Tamil Nadu in January this year that “We have the ears of Washington and National Press Club. The next Tamil Eelam war will be fought from the capitals of the western world under the leadership of Washington…….” more..

'No separate state, engage the government '

Nov 10 (LG) Des Browne, the British Envoy to Sri Lanka, told the Tamil diaspora in Australia that, after the comprehensive military victory, the only option available is to engage the government in working out a solution for the Tamils. In the open dialogue with the Tamil representatives he dismissed outright any possibility of the international community supporting a separate state. more..

Sooriasegaram tells his experience of his visit to Sri Lanka in August 2009 –Part One

Nov 10 (LG) I was in Sri Lanka from 1st of August to 1st of October, approximately 60 days. This was my longest visit to Sri Lanka since 1977. I felt as if I was rediscovering the country which gave me my Sri Lankan identity and gave me free education from kindergarten right through to university. Without the free education I received from Sri Lanka I could never have made to the UK to experience the life style of the first world. more..

Lankan teacher goes missing in India

Nov 10 (DC) A trainee teacher from Sri Lanka, who came to the city to undergo training at the English and Foreign Languages University, reportedly went missing on Sunday. Mr Gamini Silva, (44), was a part of a 40-member batch from the island nation who came here on September 15. He was staying at the Don Bosco hostel along with other members at Ramanthapur. The course is scheduled to conclude on December 8. more..

President addressed the AGM of the Private Tea Factory Owners’ Association

Nov 10 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressed the 18th Annual General Meeting of the Private Tea Factory Owners’ Association at Intercontinental Hotel, Colombo on 9th November and emphasized that it is nation’s responsibility to safeguard the freedom gained with strong dedication and supreme sacrifices made by members of the Armed Forces. more..